Colorado Translators meet in Boulder

By Marion Rhodes
CTA Social Media Director

From quality assurance to better time management, language professionals received a wealth of useful information during the 2013 Annual Conference of the Colorado Interpreters & Translators Association this past weekend. More than 60 translators, interpreters and LSPs (language service providers) joined us at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, nested in the beautiful setting of the Boulder Flatirons, for two days of professional development.

The conference theme was “Taking the Translation Business to the Next Level,” and keynote speaker Xin “Eva” Yao set the tone early Saturday with an inspiring presentation about what it means to run your own business. Eva is Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado in Boulder. “Finished is an F-word for entrepreneurs,” she told her audience, reminding us to never stop investing in our business and ourselves.

Keynote speaker Xin “Eva” Yao at the CTA Annual Conference 2013

Day 1 of the conference was packed full of informative sessions. Maya León-Meis, one of the first Latin-American anchorwomen in Colorado and CEO and President of Voice Productions International, introduced attendees to the growing market of voice over recordings. By branching out into the audio, video and multimedia industries, translators can diversify their income sources in a time of economic uncertainty, she said.

In a parallel session, Rocío Abelleira, Sr. Linguistic Lead at ForeignExchange Translations, introduced translators to three free and very useful QA tools:

Change Tracker, an app to compare bilingual files with regard to changes and edits
Olifant, a tool for maintining, cleaning up and updating translation memories in various formats (such as TMX or tab-delimited)
ApSIC Xbench, a program designed to check for consistency, numeric values and much more.

Another helpful tool was introduced by Aliquantum’s Riccardo Schiaffino, who also teaches translation at University College at the University of Denver, in a presentation on note-taking for translators and editors. Riccardo introduced a system for taking structured notes on the computer, creating a searchable log that eliminates the need for random post-its stuck around the edges of your monitor. He recommended the note-taking app CintaNotes, which is available both as a free and a paid version (which is well worth the $25 licence fee).

Those who were interested in trouble-shooting their financial information, particularly when using QuickBooks™, were treated to expert insights from Westminster CPA Frances J. Coet. “The net profit on the income sheet does not ever equal the cash in the bank,” she explained, along with how to recognize potential time bombs in financial statements.

After the morning session, attendees had a chance to mingle and network during lunch. Some of our translators decided to make the best of the beautiful Colorado weather as well as the spectacular setting and went for a brief hike. Others took advantage of our conference photographer, Jayoung Anderson, who had agreed to take professional head shots of attendees throughout the conference.

CTA translators ready to go for a hike during lunch at the 2013 conference

The afternoon started with Vann Maxson from ForeignExchange Translations explaining the top 10 things desk top publishers wished every translator knew (hint: don’t ever delete tags!) and CTA translator Eve Lindemuth Bodeaux outlining various international payment options for the language industry. Eve presented various alternatives to PayPal and wire transfers that offer better conversion rates and lower fees. In addition to foreign exchange companies (Cambridge Mercantile Group, American Express and Western Union), she recommended looking into TransferWise and Translator Pay for international money transfers.

Later in the afternoon, Corinne McKay talked about time management skills for freelancers. As a translator, author, blogger, teacher, ATA board member, former CTA president and mother, Corinne knows a thing or two about how to make the most of the 24 hours we are given each day, and she had some good advice to share. Taming your email, avoiding procrastination, creating a more focused work space and accepting that you can’t give 150% at everything all the time were some of the key insights she shared with her audience.

For those interested in getting started with the CAT-tool Wordfast, a one-hour overview of the Wordfast product suite was provided by Krystina Marrero and Jamie Lucero during the last session on Saturday afternoon. Wordfast also generously sponsored the closing reception at the end of the day Saturday, which was a very lively social event where newcomers as well as veteran members of CTA had a chance to get to know each other better.

Day 2 of the conference on Sunday featured a longer, more in-depth Wordfast seminar as well as a sitting for the ATA Certification Exam, proctored by CTA’s Hélène des Rosiers. A total of 13 people took the exam in various language combinations.

Overall, the conference was a great success. Informative topics and a warm, welcoming atmosphere made for a wonderful event that is sure to benefit all attendees on a variety of levels. I personally am proud to be a member of such a cordial association and can’t wait for the next conference in 2014!

To download PowerPoint presentations and handouts from the conference sessions, please click here.
Information on how to buy Wordfast at a 30% discount for CTA members is available in CTA’s Yahoo discussion group and private Facebook group.
More conference photos will soon be available on our website, so be sure to check back!